From the outset, it may seem unlikely that a company preparing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy would at the same give its employees bonuses. But that is exactly what the California-based energy company Solyndra seeks to do in order to persuade valuable employees to stay with the company. Solyndra's bankruptcy attorneys said the company hopes to give out nearly half a million dollars to employees whose work and motivation are especially important to achieving a Chapter 11 restructuring plan.
Solyndra aims to give bonuses to almost two dozen employees. According to a proposal filed by Solyndra's bankruptcy attorneys, the employees would receive payments ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.
Because of the firing of other employees, those who still work at Solyndra now have increased responsibilities. In addition, employees are aware that they have very little job security. The names of the potential bonus recipients were not disclosed, but it was made clear that none of the top officers or members of the board of directors are eligible for the bonuses.
Solyndra's attorneys said that the loss of key personnel at the company "may seriously jeopardize the ongoing sales efforts." The attorneys argued that not retaining the services of the key employees would "require the engagement of experienced consultants at a much higher cost than maintaining the existing personnel."
Commenting on the attorneys' proposal, a scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute pointed out that it's not uncommon for companies to try to offer bonuses to valuable employees during a Chapter 11 restructuring plan.
Solyndra seeks to award bonuses to six general business and finance employees, nine equipment engineers and up to two information technology workers. Readers in Escondido and the surrounding areas will likely be interested in how the court responds in these highly publicized bankruptcy proceedings.
Source: The Washington Times, "Bankrupt Solyndra seeking to pay bonuses," Jim McElhatton, Jan. 11, 2012